Flags for Continent Boxes

Continent Boxes are a fun DIY Montessori project and they’re something that can always be growing and changing.  You can keep adding new things to them.  If people go on a trip, ask them to bring back a little knick knack to add to it and bring back your own when your family travels.  I’m not finished all my Continent Boxes yet.  I still have Europe and Africa left to make and right now they’re pretty minimal, mainly just Toob figures and pictures to match.  So when I came across this idea in the Montessori Homeschooling Facebook group, I was really excited.  It was so simple and inexpensive.

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The flag stickers are from this book.

I already had the little wood rectangles from a long time ago.  I got them from this etsy store.  The book has two sets of each sticker, a larger one and a smaller one.  I put the larger one on the wood rectangles.  Since the stickers are reusable, they’re not very sticky so I sealed them with two coats of a glue finish (note, do a very thin coat first or the stickers bubble).  I only sealed the top, not the whole wood piece.

The book came with lovely labelled world maps.  The smaller stickers I stuck on the maps.  Then I put them in page protectors and a duotang so that it can be used as a reference.  I plan to get some little draw string bags to keep the flags in.

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Flags are not something that’s generally taught in school, but I find them fun to learn, especially in engaging ways like with the Pin Map and these little tokens.  Also, you’ll be surprised how often you see flags.  I was very proud when I could identify the flags flying at the factor near the grocery store and the other day Pumpkin 1 and I were at KW surplus and they had a ton of flags hanging up.  I was surprised when she told me the one which I couldn’t remember was the Newfoundland and Labrador flag.

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Flags, Pompoms and Boomerings

I find practical life activities impossible to leave out because my 2 year old gets into them and makes a mess so we don’t do them as often as we should.  This is a cheap easy one to set up.  The tray is an ice cube tray from the Dollar store.  The pompoms are from there too.  She’s using tweezers from Scholar’s choice that came in a large container of them, I’ve given some away.  They’re easy to use for little hands.  This activity helps build finger strength for writing and fine motor skills.

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Pumpkin 1 LOVES this flag map from Affordable Montessori.  I thought the price was really reasonable and the quality is better than expected.

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I don’t even know the flags so I’ve been learning them.  It’s amazing how fast you pick up something when it’s hands on like this activity.  The map has a key on the back with all the flags and country names but of course you can’t check the back when you’re using it so I made a printable version.

You can download it here: flags

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Have I said how much I love Discovery Toys? Oh, I did?  Haha, they’re just so wonderful.  I love toys that engage and challenge my children, that teach them math, reading, logic, reasoning, prediction, memory, and so many other skills plus they have a life-time guarantee so I don’t have to worry about anything breaking.  We incorporate many of the Discovery Toys into our homeschool activities.

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Today Pumpkin 1 was really engaged in making patterns with the Boomerings.  These are so great, they can be used from infancy right on up until childhood.  They’re really strong and durable and there’s an activity set that comes with different activity cards for matching, patterning or math. Putting them together also is great for her fine motor skills and strengthening her fingers.

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You can even use them for dress-up!  Princess Pumpkin!

Asia

We started some Asia geography with matching figures to cards to increase vocabulary and learn about the animals and places of interest in Asia.  I used the Around the World and the World Landmarks toobs as well as the Wild toob, birds toob (for the peacock) and Wild Republic Tube, I think it was the Africa one, I used the elephant from it.  I also purchased a panda bear (actually I already had it) a yak and a red panda (because they’re just so cute).  I changed the spots on the jaguar with paint to make it a leopard.

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Asia is my favourite continent to do since I lived in India.  However, I have never been to the Taj Mahal!  But the rest of my family have so I’m going to get some pictures from my mother along with other pictures to make a book about India.

Here is the PDF of the cards for your personal use.

Asian animals

Felt World Map

I finally finish our Felt World Map.  I only had the Antarctic puzzle piece left to sew, the kids had been using it without it but I finally got around to it today.  It actually wasn’t as daunting a project as I thought it’d be and it turns out lovely, even if you’re not sure what you’re doing!

The pattern is from imagineourlife.com which is a wonderful blog.

http://www.imagineourlife.com/2013/07/08/montessori-continents-map-quietbook-with-3-part-cards/

This is the map part, it’s sewn onto the blue ocean.  I got the large pieces of felt from Fabricland.  It’s pretty inexpensive.  It’s not wool felt however, just regular felt made from plastic but you could do this in wool felt.  There are some sites on Etsy that sell large bolts of wool felt.

I didn’t sew down all the little islands, some I just glued with fabric glue and I glued on the inland water pieces.

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Matching the continent puzzles to the map.  Pumpkin 1 loves this activity and she learned to name them all really quickly.

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The colours match the Montessori colours for each continent so it matches the puzzle maps and globes.

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If you can’t afford the Montessori world puzzle map this would be a great, inexpensive substitute.

Land Forms

If there’s one subject I love, it’s Geography.  I’ve been working on putting together a few Geography materials for Pumpkin 1 and I’m enjoying it so much.  One big project is the Continent Boxes.  These are boxes (or files) for each continent that contain things about that continent in the form of pictures, flags, objects, maps, stories, money, etc…  It’s so fun to do.  But it’s also a lot of work.

This weekend I worked on making the Sandpaper Land form cards.  This was something I’d been planning to make for a while but hadn’t gotten around to it.  They’re easy to do and very inexpensive.

First off I wanted them to be durable.  So I thought I’d laminate blue card stock squares first.  I then cut the land form shapes out of fine sandpaper.  Can I just say, I’m glad I didn’t attempt to make my own sandpaper letters.  Cutting sandpaper is like nails on a chalkboard, *shudder*, very unpleasant to do.  I used the masters from Montessori Print shop because I was also using the cards from there so I wanted everything to match.  After I cut them out I glued them to the laminated cards using Modge Podge and put heavy books on top and left them overnight to dry.  I wasn’t sure if the Modge Podge would hold, but it did beautifully.

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I was so excited to present them to Pumpkin 1.  I started off with the land form trays we have from Affordable Montessori.  Pumpkin 1 really likes those.  I got out the island tray and the lake tray because those are the simplest.  We poured blue coloured water in them.  She’s played with them before but I haven’t given her the names for them yet.  I did a 3 period lesson to teach her the names of island and lake.  Then I introduced the matching sandpaper cards and had her match them to the trays.  Next I brought out the green and blue land form cards and had her match them to the others.

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I also got out the sandpaper globe and we looked for islands and lakes on it.  Then she wanted the coloured globe as well.

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She was really enjoying this activity so I introduced two more land forms – bay and cape.  I really should have done peninsula and gulf because bay and cape are just variations of those, but I didn’t realize that at the time and bay and cape seemed more simple.  But, hey, I’m learning so much teaching her!

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The next day we did the activity again, and she remembered all the names.  This time I introduced another set of cards.  The photos of actual land forms.  These were a little tricky, especially bay and cape because the cape had a bay beside it, but I think it’s important for her to have a visual of the real thing to apply it to real life.

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Now to finish up my big projects on the go – the continent boxes, and the felt world wall map.

Land, Air and Water

We’ve been doing a unit on Land, Air and Water.  I incorporated many different materials and the kids loved it.

I showed them the Sandpaper globe and talked about how the earth is made up of land and water.  Children love feeling the roughness of the Sandpaper globe.  Then I got a few Land form trays out and filled them with coloured water.  We talked about land versus water and traced the shoreline with our fingers.  Then the kids played with some small boats and cars.

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I downloaded these Land, Air, Water sorting cards from Montessori Print Shop.  In a group we’d sort them under the headings.  The 2 year olds had a little trouble with things that go on the land.  The 3 year olds had no problem at all.

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And you can’t leave out the sensory play.  I purchased something I’ve had my eye on for a long long time – Kinetic Sand.  This stuff is awesome.  You can see a video of it here.  I put in some cars and trees and animals.

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Another day we played with water and ocean animals and vehicles that go in the water.  One child was playing in the water up to her arm pits lol.

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This can later be incorporated into learning about land forms or about how plants grow.